The arrival of February in the New Year is when we set our first photo tour to Corbett National Park. The fag end of chilly winters gives tremendous background to photograph the Royal Bengal Tigers. Sighting them against various backdrops and clicking them in different lighting conditions is a matter of immense joy to the wildlife photographers.
This February, our tour was highly productive. We had the chance to photograph the splendid Tigresses closely. Once a lonely Tigress showed her presence and the other time, we spotted a mother Tigress nurturing her cubs in the wilderness. The camera shutters continuously took to job capturing every precious moment.
Playing hide and seek with tigers.
As soon as we reached Corbett National Park, the tour skipper gathered information that Tigers had been kind to the visitors. We were thrilled to know about the sightings and hoped that Tigers would bestow their sightings to us too.
We headed to the morning safari with great enthusiasm. It was bone-chilling cold and we layered ourselves in warm clothing. The green canopy of the forest was covered with a white misty curtain. We crossed our fingers to sight a Tiger under this shimmery translucent curtain.
Our jeep passed the sambhar road and we moved to Par side where the famous Tigress family is seen. As we reached the place, we heard the alarm calls from Deer. This fuelled our excitement to spot the family even further.
We followed in the direction of the alarm calls, but alas there was no trace of them for us. With no sightings of the Tigers, we returned to our forest rest house for the afternoon break.
Grand entry of Grassland Female
As soon as we set out for the afternoon safari, we headed to Sambhar road. We waited for a few minutes and decided to check out Par. We drove in the entire Par region to find no clue of the resident Tigress Parwali and her cubs. We had no plans of visiting the grasslands either. The grass blades were too long to obtain sightings of the Tigers.
As we were waiting at Par, few vehicles came and confirmed that a grassland Tigress came exactly from the same spot where we were positioned in Sambhar road. We were disappointed to have narrowly missed a sighting and decided to check out the main road and Sambhar road.
We reached the main road, hoping that there is a probability of the grassland Tigress to visit the Main Corbett Road. Few vehicles had already positioned themselves in the main road and confirmed to us that they heard the roar from the bushes.
It was just about a couple of minutes after our arrival when we heard the roar of the Tigress. Then appeared the streaks of Orange and Black stripes on to the main road. She was on a lookout of something and smelled the forest floor. Maybe she had a whiff of pheromones and possibly looked for her mate. It was hardly 2 – 3 mins and she again returned to the bushes.
After a long wait, we heard her roar again signalling her male counterpart to reach her. She came out of the bushes and sniffed around the trees. She left a splotch of her urine perfume on the bark of a tree to aid her probable mate to come in search of her. We observed these natural instinctual behaviours of the wild Tigress in awe. The grassland Tigress gave us wonderful angles, postures, and mannerisms to capture in our cameras. We clicked a series of her pictures and returned to the forest rest house for snacks and photo review sessions.
The Date with Parwali Tigress and Cubs
With fresh hope and new excitement, we started our next day morning safari. Again, we were hearing the alarm calls from Deer. We followed the alarm sounds and yet could not find any movement of the Corbett’s prestigious predators.
While we searched for the Tigers, we captured a Jackal crossing the road. We also spotted a few feathered friends. Black Stork, Hen Harrier, Green Magpie and some Woodpeckers flew in between to keep us occupied.
Our tour skipper received the information that Parwali is seen near a stream of water in the Par side. We quickly reached there to find the family of four. We were ecstatic to see all of them together. They were cuddling, playing, and moving around. It was such an endearing scene to witness in the wilderness.
A family of four is a lifetime opportunity for a sighting. There are higher chances of watching them hunting in the wild to fill their hungry stomach. The Mother Tigress must be on her toes to feed her cubs. A single Deer or a Fawn would not suffice for their family meal.
As we were thinking, if a hunting scene could unfold for us, a cub killed a Myna inside the grass. It seemed like a practical training session for the little cub. We guessed the cubs would enjoy their snack later sometime. We clicked the cubs and the mom and thanked them for providing such magical wildlife moments to bring back home.
Final round up.
In the presence of our well-informed tour skipper, our photo tour was a true success. We learned lesser-known facts about Corbett Tiger Reserve and a number of helpful photography tricks to capture the swanky Tigers.
We looked forward to the photography sessions during the breaks to hear the observations of the tour skipper. With his guidance, we created incredible pictures of the wild Tigers. These photographs are the real treasures to remain in our hearts until we visit Corbett once again in a different season.